Broadband: the new oxygen

Today’s post is contributed by Piotr Stryszowski of the OECD’s Science, Technology and Industry Directorate, Click on the logo to go to the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission website.

Broadband has recently been described as the oxygen of the digital age. For that reason a subject that was once the reserve of “geeks and policy wonks” has become a concern of world leaders from Presidents and the heads of international organisations to Nobel laureates, famous artists and the captains of industry. You can read about one group here.

The use of broadband communications goes far beyond the ICT sector. Broadband has become a necessary tool for countless companies across all industries. Firms have been using broadband as a way to reduce operational costs, facilitate access to communication, improve the management of information, as well as being a platform for innovation in equipment and services. Broadband has also become integral to the daily lives of people in OECD countries, which is pretty obvious for every blog reader.

On a macroeconomic level, the development of broadband has positive effects on productivity and growth. The improved availability and use of ICTs can make real differences to the prospects of firms, and peoples’ lives, in developing countries. Put differently, more broadband means more efficient economies and higher per capita income. This makes the development of improved communications a useful and efficient tool for policymakers on the way towards the Millennium Development Goals.

 Work at the OECD has highlighted the critical role that the use and application of ICTs including broadband can play in economic and social development. To share the OECD’s experience and to underline the potential role of broadband communications in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, the OECD Secretary General joined the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission.  During its last meeting in New York, the Commission agreed that the future will be built on broadband and urged all governments to move broadband to the top of their agendas.

Useful links

The OECD and the Millennium Development Goals

OECD broadband portal

OECD Communications Outlook

 Broadband Growth and Policies in OECD Countries

OECD reports on telecommunications and Internet

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